Beating Holiday Travel Traffic

Beating Holiday Travel Traffic

At the beginning of this semester I made a post about traveling around campus and what student transit options are. Now, as the holidays loom and you can almost taste that Thanksgiving dinner, it is time to think about how you are getting home for the holidays. This post is more about Thanksgiving travel seeing as it is coming quickly and we’re all home well before Christmas (the only good thing about finals). Let’s begin.

How are you getting home?

For a large majority of campus, this is a question with an easy answer. Your parents are coming to get you or you are driving the hour or under home from campus (lucky in-staters). For the rest of us, there are quite a few factors to consider for how to get home in time to watch the Macy’s Parade and sit down for the football game with a pile of mash potatoes in front of you. Here are some things to consider:

  • Do I have classes between Friday, November 22nd, and Wednesday, November 27th?
  • If yes, how many and can I afford to miss them?
  • I can only miss a certain day, when should I go home?
  • What are my options to get from point A to point B?

With these considerations and whatever else you can think of in mind, plan wisely. Using myself for example, I only have classes on Beating Holiday Travel TrafficTuesday and I know that some of them have already been canceled since there are professors who realize that people do need to travel. Am I heading home that day then? Yes. As a sophomore who decided to brave South Station in Boston the Wednesday before Thanksgiving last year, I wanted to give myself enough options and days between traveling and the holiday so that trying to get home wouldn’t be so stressful. There is honestly nothing worse than standing in line and waiting for hours and hours for the Hartford/NYC Express bus when every students from Boston and the greater Boston area is trying to get to the same place as you. So consider carefully when you are going to start heading home, particularly if you are taking some form of public transit.

Once you know when you will be heading home now you need to think about how you will be getting from UNH to wherever you live. Using myself as an example again, I live in Connecticut which is only about a three hour drive away. But between bus stops and layovers and, because this has happened to be six times, the possibility of the bus breaking down it can take me up to seven or eight hours to get home. Remembering that, what I try to do is take the earlier buses if possible and try and break up my traveling. For me, I take the Downeaster from UNH to Boston North Station, take the T to South Station and then hop on the Greyhound or Peter Pan bus home. There are some other options though…

If you choose to go home the weekend before Thanksgiving, you can take the C&J down to Boston and make any other connections from there. South Stations can get you to Logan International Airport if you’re flying or to most of the major cities on the east coast. Just keep in mind time when you’re dealing with the stations. Being late by even a minute can be the difference between getting home in time for dinner and getting home after midnight. Timing is everything when it comes to public transportation.

During the rest of the week, C&J doesn’t stop on campus so you either have to take the Downeaster or get to Dover or Portsmouth to catch the bus to Boston. Once you figure out how to get southbound from the good old University of New Hampshire you just need to consider which bus is going to get you to where you need to be.

Now that you you’ve considered when and how you are getting home, consider how you are getting back to campus.

I’m home… but not for long…

Thanksgiving break is only technically Thursday through Sunday and when we return from break it is a week left of classes and then finals (eek!). It’s getting more and more important to be in your classes so getting back to campus in time for that Monday 8am is extremely important (you only have five days until finals!!!).

Much like when you were figuring out how to get home for break, you need to consider all of you transportation options to get back to campus. Look at the bus and train schedules or see if you can hitch a ride back to the area with a family member. For some odd reason, getting back from Thanksgiving break is always easier than leaving for it.

In conclusion…

Traveling home for the holidays in college is a difficult task, especially when you don’t go to school in the same state you’re from. It is doable though, and all you need to do is think ahead. Think about what your best option for traveling is and what your homework situation for over the break (yeah, don’t forget to do your homework!). Well, now you at the very least know where to begin to beat the Thanksgiving travelers. Good luck!